This is a question that has been bugging me for a long time and hopefully my response to it might stir some discussion.
I used to think that question bugged me because I lead a small church, but on reflection I've come to realise it's more about the kind of people that ask the question and the hidden motive behind it.
Not so long ago we were at a Hillsong Leaders Network meeting and the speaker posed a question to each pastor present: "If your church was to close down tomorrow, would anyone notice?". Now obviously the members would notice, but that wasn't what the question was about. The question was about how involved in your community is your church and how genuinely are you serving the community? In the light of this, ask yourself the question again.... It makes you think doesn't it!
I think this is where the "how big is your church?" question stems from. If the church was seriously active in its own comunity serving the needs of the neediest, the loneliest and the most vulnerable we wouldn't have either the time or the inclination to ask such pointless questions.
I believe that the question we should be asking of others and their churches is this: "How effectively is your church ministering to the community?".
So yes, I lead a church of a few, but we feed an average of 50 people each week through our soup kitchen and we serve twelve families (about to become 24 families) three times a week (about to become four times a week) by providing their kids with a safe environemt to do their homework.
So how effective is your church at ministering to the community and if it was to close tomorrow would anyone notice?